It's true what they say: celebrities are just like everyone else. They buy groceries, they take their kids to school, and every once in a while they are summoned to do their civic duty. That was the case this week with two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who began serving on a California jury last week. However, Hanks' star power had an unexpected effect on the outcome of the case.
The actor was serving on a jury for a domestic assault case, which began to wind down on Tuesday. As the proceedings drew to a close, one prosecuting attorney on the case revealed that another lawyer in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office had approached Hanks during a lunch break and thanked him for his service on the jury.
The revelation caused defense attorney Andrew Flier to ask the court for a mistrial, alleging prosecutorial misconduct. Today reported on Thursday that Flier had been harboring some doubts about having Hanks on the jury, fearing that his fame would influence his fellow jurors come deliberation time, but ultimately decided that Hanks would be judicious.
"He never looked or made any statements like he wanted to get off jury duty," Flier said. "So based on everything, he seemed like a very fair juror."
In the end, it was not the jury Flier had to worry about being influenced. To avoid a mistrial, attorneys from both sides met on Wednesday morning and ultimately settled the case. The settlement, however, involved a lesser charge for the defendant, who received a charge of disturbing the peace and a $150 fine. A spokesman for the city attorney's office reportedly said the alleged misconduct is being reviewed.